The CD Projekt Red company recently trademarked the word “Cyberpunk” in preparation for the release of the company’s latest franchise, Cyberpunk 2077. Some individuals have expressed concern that CD Projekt Red might begin to appropriate “Cyberpunk” and enforce the use of the phrase in a negative manner.
Responding to these concerns, CD Projekt Red expressed that “Cyberpunk” had been trademarked to protect the company’s work and that the company does not intend on using the trademark offensively. CD Projekt Red went so far as to promise that the trademark would only be enforced in situations that might cause confusion among consumers. This “Cyberpunk” case is the most recent example of “trademark trolling” (TMT) in the video game industry. This type of behavior has the potential to create substantial changes for trademark holders and frequently requires the assistance of skilled legal counsel.
What Is Trademark Trolling?
TMT is not exactly the same as trademark bullying, which has also been covered in this firm’s blog. Trademark trolls often do not actually use their trademark but opportunistically attempt to register in demand trademarks in anticipation that these marks will eventually be desired by other companies and lead to financial gain for the trademark troll.
Trademark bullying, however, frequently involves a company that aggressively pursues potential mark infringement against rivals. In some cases, companies are not actually acting in a “bully” like manner but are instead merely attempting to safeguard a valuable trademark.
Advice to Defending Against Trademark Trolling
There are several steps that individuals should take to avoid being subject to trademark trolling.
These steps include, but are certainly not limited to, the following:
File Early. Individuals should always file trademarks as early as possible. This early registration can be highly influential in deciding who has the right to a mark.
Conduct Research. It is highly recommended that individuals perform periodic searches to identify potential trolls. By remaining updated about these potential risks, individuals can be much better alert to trolling that might occur.
Keep Good Records. Maintaining thorough and detailed files will prove very important in the event that a case of trolling occurs.
Consult with a Knowledgeable Attorney. It is not always possible for an individual to fully guard against trolling. In the event that you become the victim of trolling, it is a very wise idea to retain the assistance of an attorney who has an in-depth understanding of trademarks and can help create a strong legal defense strategy.
Obtain the Assistance of a Talented Trademark Lawyer
Trademark law can be complicated and overwhelming if you are not highly experienced in the field. If you become the victim of “trademark trolling”, it is very easy to be uncertain about how to proceed.
Fortunately, at Whitcomb, Selinsky, PC, our legal counsel has helped many individuals reach the best possible conclusion in a variety of trademark cases including those involving trolling by competitors. Contact our firm today by filling out our online form or calling our Denver office at (303) 534-1958.